Leaving Pets in the RV

Summer is here and it's time to jump in your Winnebago and hit the road! Today we're sharing our thoughts on this question we recently received on our Facebook page:

"Would you write something about leaving pets safely in an RV while you're out & about? What do you do about temperature, air, and safety for both short & longer timeframes?"

The heat has already reached unbearable levels in many parts of the country, and we all know that leaving pets in hot cars puts their lives in danger. Is it the same when you're in an RV? Yes and no ...

If you're planning to leave your pets alone in your rig while it's parked in a campground, you'll first need to make sure that your pets will not disturb your neighbors while you're away. Also, some campgrounds have rules prohibiting pets from being left unattended, even inside your coach - likely due to bad experiences with dogs "serenading" the other guests. So, be sure you know the policies when you make your reservations. Of course, Ty and Buster would never do such a thing -- just look at those innocent faces!

Two dogs on floor of motorhome.

If both of those conditions are squared away, the next thing to consider is the weather. Regulating the temperature in an RV is easier than in a car, but it can still get uncomfortably - or even dangerously -- hot for pets. Lowering all your shades to block the sun, opening windows, turning on ceiling ventilation fans, and providing plenty of water will help, but may not do enough to ensure a safe environment.

Two dogs looking at dog bowl.

Unfortunately, there is no set temperature that one can bank on to be safe for their pets -- it depends on humidity, air movement, if you're parked in the sun or shade, and on your pet's health. Even his breed can affect his ability to keep cool. Short-faced breeds, like pugs and Shar-pei, are known to be affected more by the heat.

Dog laying in dog bed in front of fan.

When the temperatures are warm enough that you'd need to rely on air conditioning to keep your pets safe, think twice about leaving them. Pop-up thunderstorms, electrical surges, and even careless neighbors can cut off the shore power to your RV. If you're planning a day trip, take your pets along! If the plans you've made don't allow you to include your pets, consider a pet sitter or doggy daycare facility where they can spend the day. You may even find fellow campers who are willing to trade pet sitting favors!

Woman playing with two dogs in the motorhome.

For a quick run to the grocery store, or similar short trips, leave your cell phone number with the office staff and ask them to notify you immediately if any problems arise with power in the park. Another option is to use use a monitor that sends text and email alerts if the temperature in the RV goes outside the range designated. Of course, with either of these warning systems, you must be close enough to your coach to get back before the inside temperature rises to a dangerous level.

Dog laying on couch in RV with feet in the air.

Basically, it comes down to this: If there is any question as to whether your pets will be comfortable alone in your RV, please don't leave them. Nothing is so important that it's worth endangering a pet's life. You may just have to sit and stay (with the air conditioning on), while someone else fetches.

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